Awards Rankings: Your Current Frontrunners for Best Actor and Actress Are...

Awards Rankings: Your Current Frontrunners for Best Actor and Actress Are...

Dec 24, 2012

Last week in our Awards Line column we took a look at the races for Best Picture, Director and Screenplay. Today we take a look at the races for Best Actor and Actress.


Since 2002 the Screen Actors Guild has matched the Oscar list for Best Actor 42 for 50 (84%). Supporting Actor is 39 for 50 (78%). The lead category has only missed more than one a single time since 2000. Supporting was perfect in 2009-'10 before missing with Armie Hammer in J. Edgar last year (and we all still wonder how that happened.) There are better percentages at play, though, as we figure who (if at all) will be left off either of these lists come Oscar time.

The best of which is that in the past decade a nomination from not just SAG but also Chicago, the Golden Globes and the BFCA translates into a 92.8% chance at an Oscar slot. That bodes very well for Daniel Day-Lewis, Denzel Washington and John Hawkes. Of course, even without Chicago, a BFCA/Globes/SAG combo is still 36 for 39 (92.3%). That's also good news for Hugh Jackman and Bradley Cooper. Maybe SAG is going five for five this year. Wait one second, said he-who-hates-awards Joaquin Phoenix. He won top honors from Los Angeles, who were riding a six-year streak of its choices winning the Oscar until Michael Fassbender was snubbed altogether last year. Like Phoenix he won L.A. and was nominated by both Chicago and the Globes. No SAG nod. No Oscar nod.



(1) Daniel Day-Lewis “Lincoln (2) Denzel Washington "Flight (3) John Hawkes “The Sessions (4) Hugh Jackman “Les Misérables (5) Bradley Cooper “Silver Linings Playbook (6) Joaquin Phoenix “The Master (7) Denis Levant "Holy Motors" (8) Richard Gere "Arbitrage" (9) Bill Murray "Hyde Park on Hudson" (10) Jack Black "Bernie"


If you're thinking 92% is not the kind of certainty you are looking for in filling out your prediction sheets, how about some good old-fashioned perfection? Over in the Best 25-of-25 times since 2002. How does that sound, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tommy Lee Jones and Alan Arkin? The final two slots will spark a lot of debate. A BFCA/SAG combo is three for four the past decade, but SAG, devoid of any other factors, is 41 for 50 here. It has only matched Oscar in this category twice in its 18-year history, but both as recently as 2009 and 2010. The numbers are with Javier Bardem and Robert De Niro, or at least one of them.

We're sure Matthew McConaughey appreciates the nods from Detroit and Houston, but for numbers purposes we're focused on his nod from the BFCA here. No love from the Globes or Chicago or even SAG and that puts him in a one-for-sxi hole. However, he did win the New York Critics prize - though they hedged their bet on Magic Mike by also citing Bernie. (How about one performance, one award, Big Apple?) That raises his chances from 16% to 50%. That one on the BFCA hole, though, was for William Hurt, then Oscar-nominated for A History of Violence. He also won the New York prize, as well as Los Angeles. One can easily lean towards him ousting Bardem for a year that also included Killer Joe.

Next we have a pair of supporting players from Django Unchained. Though Christoph Waltz is more of a lead, he has been getting as much love as Leonardo DiCaprio here. Leo was a nominee from Chicago and currently is a nominee for the Globes. A Chicago/Globes combo nod is zero for two since 2002. A Globes nod without BFCA or SAG -- where both actors find themselves -- is two for 14. Over in the Chicago only category are Dwight Henry and Jason Clarke. Of the eight supporting actors to find themselves in this position a month away from nominations, only one (Michael Shannon for Revolutionary Road) got the Oscar nod.



(1) Philip Seymour Hoffman “The Master (2) Tommy Lee Jones “Lincoln (3) Alan Arkin “Argo (4) Robert De Niro “Silver Linings Playbook (5) Javier Bardem “Skyfall (6) Matthew McConaughey “Magic Mike (7) Leonardo DiCaprio "Django Unchained" (8) Christoph Waltz "Django Unchained" (9) Dwight Henry "Beasts of the Southern Wild" (10) Jason Clarke "Zero Dark Thirty"



 Twenty-seven of 28 times since 2002, a lead actress who gets nominated by SAG, the Globes, the BFCA and Chicago gets Oscar nominated. That gives you Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence and Naomi Watts. Thirty-four of 36 times since 2002, a lead actress gets those first three, she is Oscar-nominated. That gives you Marion Cotillard. One of those two keeping that last stat from being near perfect is Tilda Swinton, who was shut out of the race last year for We Need to Talk About Kevin. That is still four potential nominees over 94%.

Only twice since '02 has there been a nominee from BFCA & Chicago that were shut out from the Globes and SAG. Neither of them were nominated. It's a small sample size that both Emmanuelle Riva and Quvenzhané Wallis hope will change this year. Helen Mirren has a SAG and a Globe nod under her belt. Five other actresses have received them in this period, and only two of them got the Oscar nod. The last two -- Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs) and Helen Mirren (The Last Station). Then you have the case of Rachel Weisz. Eight of the last 10 Best Actress winners from New York have been nominated. She also got the Globe nomination, but that means little since the Globes have failed to nominate New York's winner only once since 1998. As for those like Emily Blunt (for Salmon Fishing) Judi Dench (for Marigold Hotel), Maggie Smith (for Quartet) and Meryl Streep, the only one out of 46 to get just a Globe nod with nary a mention from these others and get an Oscar nod was Rooney Mara for Dragon Tattoo. And that was just last year, so you never know.

That fifth slot looks like it could be a real nail-biter. Wisdom suggests Riva has a slight edge. She tied Lawrence for the L.A. prize though it has not had one of its actresses get nominated since 2007, and five of its last seven were foreign-film choices. Does it go with two foreign language nominees? How much more attention needs to be shined on Wallis for her to get in? Not counting Kate Winslet for Lead in The Reader, only two actresses since '02 have gotten in without a Globe/SAG combo. One of them was 13-year-old Keisha Castle-Hughes for Whale Rider, whom Wallis could replace as the youngest Best Actress nominee at five years old.



Zero Dark Thirty still

(1) Jessica Chastain “Zero Dark Thirty (2) Jennifer Lawrence “Silver Linings Playbook (3) Naomi Watts “The Impossible (4) Marion Cotillard “Rust and Bone (5) Rachel Weisz "The Deep Blue Sea" (6) Helen Mirren "Hitchcock" (7) Emmanuelle Riva "Amour" (8) Quvenzhané Wallis “Beasts of the Southern Wild (9) Meryl Streep "Hope Springs" (10) Judi Dench "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"

Over in the Supporting category, if we eliminate the anomaly of Kate Winslet upping to the lead category for The Reader (where she always should have been) then we have another perfect score over the last decade. SAG, Chicago, Globes, BFCA agreeing on a nomination is 23 for 23 in seeing that choice get an Oscar nod. That should lock in perceived favorite of the evening, Anne Hathaway, as well as Sally Field. The Chicago Film Critics Association went the right way with Helen Hunt in The Sessions, nominating her in the Lead category. Count the nomination or not, all you're doing is reducing Hunt's chances from 100% to 93.3% seeing as she was nominated from all the other groups in the category where Fox Searchlight is pushing her. After that it gets complicated.

Marcia Gay Harden (Pollock) is the only actor or actress to ever win an Oscar without being nominated for a SAG award first. Since most agree it is a foregone conclusion that Hathaway is the lock of the night, SAG's snubbing of Amy Adams stings just a tad less, though still ridiculous considering that Lee Daniels' The Paperboy could actually have an Oscar nomination to its credit now. Nicole Kidman (admittedly the best thing about the horrendous film) and her SAG plus Globes nods belongs to a category that includes Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs), Penelope Cruz (Nine) and Queen Latifah (Chicago). All Oscar nominees. Maria Bello (A History of Violence) was not. Reasonably solid odds for Kidman. Right behind her is Judi Dench with nods from the other two groups (Chicago and BFCA). Good for Meryl Streep (Adaptation) and Marcia Gay Harden (Mystic River). Not great for Carey Mulligan (Shame). Still, those become the only five nominees with a 50%-plus history.


(1) Anne Hathaway “Les Misérables (2) Sally Field “Lincoln (3) Helen Hunt “The Sessions (4) Nicole Kidman "The Paperboy" (5) Amy Adams “The Master(6) Judi Dench “Skyfall (7) Maggie Smith - "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (8) Ann Dowd “Compliance (9) Emily Blunt “Looper(10) Emma Watson "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"


When the big guilds make their final choices in early January, we shall check in, update the rankings and make our final choices for the big announcement on January 10.

Categories: Features, Awards
Tags: Awards Line
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